Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

Trip of a Lifetime

Post by:  Jake
6/19/12

All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go…. Tomorrow, Veronica and I embark on a trip of a lifetime.  One of those bucket-list trips everyone dreams about.  Or so we’ve been told.  To us, we’re simply making it happen.  We’ve scrimped and saved, and have been planning each detail for over a year.  Ireland by bike.  At least, that’s the simple but appropriate title of one of the many guide books we’ve used to plan for the trip.  ”Cycle touring in Ireland” by Cicerone press, Lonely Planet guide to “Ireland”, Keyguide to “Ireland”, just a few more of the guide books we’ve been using for the past year to plan our “epic” journey around the Emerald Isle.

350 miles over 15 days.  An average of about 23-miles per day.  Very easy and very doable by most peoples standards.  But what a way to see a country?  Early last summer, Veronica and I mountain biked the Going-To-The-Sun road in Glacier National Park and, although we’ve been in the park dozens of times before on the very same road, this experience changed our outlook on what it takes to really “see” a place.  With that fresh perspective, we started planning a cycle touring trip in Europe.  We didn’t know where, how far, or how long we’d be on this journey, but we knew it was something we wanted to make happen.  Over the following year we narrowed it down to Ireland, for many reasons previously disclosed here.

We’ve sorted through gear, purchased airline tickets, reserved rooms in key cities, and have even purchased a few rail connections.  We’ve packed, re-packed, then re-packed a few more times to dial our equipment to only the bare necessities.  I’ve purchased special computerized GPS map cards and have pre-loaded daily routes into a new Garmin GPS.  And with a few other details squared away, we’re ready.

But why don’t we feel like a kid on Christmas eve then?  I mean, from all we’ve been hearing, it’s a “trip of a lifetime”.  And a year of planning should feel a bit more climactic shouldn’t it?  Perhaps it still just doesn’t feel real yet.  I am still sitting in my living room, embraced in the comforts of home.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve been so pre-occupied and consumed with buying a new home?  In fact, we close on the new home during our trip–a friend will be acting as our hand, signing all the legal paperwork, while we’re out having fun. (*Note to self–Buy something nice for said friend!) Whatever the reason for the lack of goosebumps and butterflies, it doesn’t change the fact that we ARE flying out of the country in the morning.  We ARE renting bikes in Dublin, and we ARE going to experience what few ever have the opportunity to.  We are so blessed and so thankful for everything that life has brought us.  We look forward to the adventure that awaits, and adversities that lie ahead (the weatherman is calling for steady rain).  It won’t all be smooth sailing, but from adversity comes growth and for that we are thankful.  Our Ireland bike tour ends around July 9th, but the journey and memories will surely live on forever.  We can hardly wait to post updates, photos, and stories.  But till then, we’re “out of the office”. Cheers!  J&V

 

 

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Last Minute Stocking Gift Ideas

Need some last minute gift ideas for your athlete friends and family?  Veronica and I have some great ideas for you.  Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite gear for biking, running, and races, all way less than $50!

Detours Bike Bags: Particularly the Goodie Bags.  Retails for $30, they are easy to find at your local bike shop.  Veronica and I LOVE these bags and use them constantly.  They sit on the top tube of your bike for quick easy access to snacks, energy bites, camera, ect…

 

Nite Ize Lights:  Nite Ize makes a pile of PERFECT stocking stuffers.  From the brand new Bug Lights at $12.99 to the tiny two pack of spoke lights at $6.99,  there’s definitely a few products everyone would love to find in their stocking.

Hestra Bike Gloves:  Hestra has been making gloves for decades but just started making bike gloves.  these gloves are perhaps the warmest, nicest winter cycling gloves I’ve ever owned.  Well worth the $30-$40 for a pair of cold weather cycling gloves.

Energy Bars and Drinks:  Always a great Idea for the stocking.  Our favorites are Nuun hydration tablets, Hammer (huckleberry flavored) energy gel, Gu products, Honey Stinger bars and chews, and Odwalla Bars.

Socks!  Athletes can never have enough nice socks. Some of our favorite run and bike socks are Teko, and Pearl Izumi

Hydroflask water bottles:  Veronica and I got to sample one of these a year ago and have loved them so much we just bought a pile to give away this winter to friends and family.  These are the Mercedes Benz of water bottles.  Not too heavy, they are insulated stainless steel (like a thermos, but WAY better) and they keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks REALLY HOT.  They are awesome, and are very worth the $20.

First Aid Kits:  be creative and put together some first aid products (band-aids, sharpee marker, gauze rolls, ect…) Fun, and easy to put together a nice kit for around $20-$30.  If they travel a lot – don’t forget the imodium.

Travel Guide Books:  If your friends/family are planning a big adventure, guide books are always a good idea.  It can never hurt to have two or three good guides for an area.

Headlamps:  Just like water bottles, tape measures, and socks, you can never have too many headlamps.  Headlamps are getting cheaper and cheaper too.  You should be able to find a good Black Diamond Headlamp for around $20.

 

 

 

 

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Gear Review: Bolle’ Sunglasses

Post by:  Jake
11/6/11

A couple months ago we were approached by a representative from Bolle’ sunglasses.  He asked us if we wanted to test out a couple pairs of their new shades.  Although, I’ve worked at sporting goods stores off and on for years, I’ve never had the opportunity to try out a pair of Bolle’ sunglasses.  Having taken them on countless bike rides and backpacking trips this summer, Veronica and I have both been blown away at how well they’ve performed.  The fit is incredible, and the clarity is outstanding.  I chose the Dash sunglasses and Veronica went with the Aero model.  Although the Aero glasses are meant to fit a smaller face/head, either pair seems to fit my medium face/head or Veronica’s smaller face/head very well.  I’ve found no issues with the glasses fitting awkwardly under my bike helmet as with several other glasses I’ve owned.  Veronica occasionally has issues with her eye lashes brushing up against the inside of the lenses, but she’s found that’s been a common issue with all glasses she’s owned.  The dramatic “high-def” like clarity over the super wide field of vision was probably the biggest feature both Veronica and I appreciated.  That featured, combined with the light weight feel, make you forget your even wearing these sunglasses.  If you’re in the market for a high end, high performance pair of sunglasses certainly take a close look at the Bolle’ shades; you won’t be disappointed.  Just make sure you spend a couple extra bucks on a pair of Chums eyeglass retainers to protect your investment.

 

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My first flat–should I be this excited?!

Post by:  Veronica
7/20/11

Mile 32 of 45.  My back tire starts whistling like a firework.  ”That can’t be good,” I think to myself as I come to a stop.  Sure enough, I officially had my first flat. I’ve changed a car tire before and I’ve watched people change a bike tire before–but never had I done it myself.  Although no one really wants to get a flat tire…I must admit that secretly I was stoked!  First of all, the weather was nice and I was out with a group of friends so there was no reason to panic or feel rushed.  And truth be told, I felt like it was the official initiation into the sport of cycling.  Finally I was in the club!
And sure, it wasn’t the smoothest, quickest change a bike tire has ever seen (it was a bit awkward and it took us a while to figure out the new pump!) but I managed to do it 98% on my own… with the moral support of those around.   Am I proud?…just a little! :-)

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Triathlon training week two–What am I doing here?!

Post By: Veronica
3/15/11

In the middle of the timed two-mile test I was running for the Triathlon clinic, a girl next to me asks, “So are you a mountain biker or a road biker?”  Taken aback by the fact that she was able to think of anything other than the burning in her legs AND could muster up enough oxygen to utter a complete sentence, I shook myself out of my running trance and answered, “Not really either.”  Then I thought to myself,  ”Actually, I don’t bike, I never learned how to swim and I’ve never been a distance runner…what am I doing here!”

One week later, as the “Adaptation Phase” of our training comes to a close and we’re finally getting the hang of things, I feel much less out of my element.

From spandex to swim caps--my new athletic gear is taking some time to get used to. We're no longer on the volleyball court Toto!

For our training clinic, the group meets three times each week with the coaches.  Tuesday and Friday we are in the pool and Wednesday we’re on the track for a run.  The rest of the week, we bike, lift and usually do another run workout on our own.  Originally I thought it odd that we never meet for our bike workouts, and instead have two swim workouts as a group.  But I soon realized that I was not the only one in the group who felt least comfortable with the swimming component of the race.  In fact, the majority of our group had signed up specifically to improve their swimming comfort and ability.

You see, the beautiful thing about a multi-event sport like a triathlon is that everyone has a component they are confident with and everyone has a component they struggle with.  For example, someone can be holding their own in the pool workouts, fall behind and hate the run days, but then when you see them in the spin room…they are in their element, in the zone.  Personally, I come out of swim class like a drowned rat, am so-so in a bike workout, and am (to my own surprise) loving the run workouts.

So the question could be raised, “Why don’t you just stick with what you like and/or are good at?”  Fair question.  Personally, being pushed out of my element is helping me grow, both mentally and physically as an athlete.  Every day works a different set of muscles and for the first time in my athletic journey, I am genuinely excited to master a weak skill.  Seriously, I’ve spent hours watching YouTube video after video on swimming techniques.  And practicing the motions in my living room!  From mastering the stroke, to figuring out how to breath.  And, when I start getting frustrated about not catching on as quickly as I’d like, I get a confidence boost at the run workout the next day.

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